Issues around water use and who pays for it have been clarified by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s building and housing department – but not to the satisfaction of the New Zealand Property Investors Federation.
By Susan Edmunds
The department has released some new guidelines, which state that it is no longer necessary to record in the tenancy agreement that the tenant will pay for metered water
“The tenant is responsible for outgoings that are exclusively attributable to that tenant. This includes electricity, gas, phone and metered water.”
The guidelines say landlords are responsible for ensuring there is an adequate water supply but that tenants are responsible for paying for it when it is charged on the basis of consumption.
“Tenants may be charged for waste water where the wastewater charge is exclusively attributable to the tenant's use. Some water suppliers now include calculations of waste water by reference to water supplied.”
But the guidelines state that landlords are, in most cases, responsible for the fixed waste water charges.
NZPIF president Andrew King said that was what his organisation was hoping to change.
“Our interpretation of the Residential Tenancies Act is that tenants are responsible for the portion that relates to their tenancy. On the Watercare bill, it breaks the fixed charge up into days.”
He said if a fixed charge was allocated on a daily basis, the landlord should be able to pass it on to the tenant.